A Giant Glowing Lantern

architects Herzog & de Meuron
project Arena do Morro, Mãe Luiza, Natal, Brazil
written by Peter Sealy


The Arena do Morro gymnasium in Natal, Brazil, shelters more than just those local children playing beneath its generous pitched roof. It also celebrates the dignity of their community Mãe Luiza, a marginalised neighbourhood whose inhabitants have long struggled against poverty, crime and social exclusion. Designed by the Swiss firm of Herzog & de Meuron, the beautiful gymnasium architecturally affirms their rights to gather in safety, to live in their city, and to enjoy the stunning coastal landscape that defines their geographic situation.